Section: News

Guo joins ODEI as Assistant Director, brings new initiatives

René Guo joined the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) as Assistant Director of DEI on June 15. They are the third team member to join in the last year following ODEI’s strategic plan to strengthen diverse communities across campus. 

Prior to working at Kenyon, Guo researched the intersection of Black theology and mass incarceration at Denison University and the intersection of Asian religion and systems of oppression at Yale Divinity School. They previously worked as an Assistant Minister at the Dixwell Avenue Congregational United Church of Christ, and independently founded an interfaith dialogue group to discuss religion, gender and sexuality. 

“The opportunity to channel this multifaceted background into tangible and impactful initiatives resonates seamlessly with my aspirations to be an influential agent of meaningful change,” Guo wrote in an email to the Collegian

As Assistant Director of DEI, Guo will be responsible for advancing gender and sexuality equity initiatives across campus. They intend to orient these initiatives toward the student body, expanding ODEI’s outreach on campus. These initiatives include a bi-weekly shuttle for transgender and gender non-conforming students to access gender-affirming care. Guo and Administrative Assistant to the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Kennedey Bell also plan to host three allyship workshops in the fall semester for students, faculty and staff, with separate workshops for athletes and Student Council. 

Guo emphasized the importance of a student-oriented approach to ODEI’s programming. “The pursuit of diversity, equity and inclusion is inherently centered around people,” they said. “This endeavor necessitates a collective commitment to fostering an atmosphere where all members of the community feel valued and empowered.” 

These initiatives align with ODEI’s strategic plan for the semester, which the Office outlined in an email to the student body on Monday. In the email, ODEI expanded on three priorities for the 2023-24 academic year: trauma-informed education, increased collaboration and regular assessment of the Office. These priorities include educational events on neurodivergency and trauma, stronger collaboration among affinity groups on campus and increased transparency on decision making within ODEI. 

“Substantial progress necessitates a unified stance,” Guo said. “[T]ransformation can only be attained through a lucid comprehension of our current standing and the trajectory we aspire to chart.” 

Guo looks forward to expanding ODEI’s impact on campus through new events, initiatives and programming. They are hopeful that expanded outreach will cultivate a more inclusive community at Kenyon. 

“What excites me most is the opportunity to contribute to a team dedicated to fostering a campus culture characterized by respect, understanding and empowerment,” Guo said. “This journey ahead promises personal growth, continuous learning and the genuine satisfaction of enriching the fabric of an increasingly inclusive Kenyon College community.” 

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